100 episodes

From Haaretz – Israel's oldest daily newspaper – a weekly podcast in English on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World, hosted by Allison Kaplan Sommer.

Haaretz Podcast Haaretz.com

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    • 4.5 • 15 Ratings

From Haaretz – Israel's oldest daily newspaper – a weekly podcast in English on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World, hosted by Allison Kaplan Sommer.

    'Many Jews say they'll leave France if the far right or extreme left win the election'

    'Many Jews say they'll leave France if the far right or extreme left win the election'

    Israelis should expect Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "poison machine" to be working overtime with the coalition government attacking its own military leaders on a daily basis, says Haaretz senior defense analyst Amos Harel on the Haaretz Podcast.

    After a brief "honeymoon" period last week, following the IDF's daring rescue of four Israeli hostages held in Gaza, he said, "The hunt is on again. We'll see Netanyahu attacking them almost on a daily basis on the one hand, and also, what we call the poison machine run by his son and his supporters. We'll see more and more accusations pointed towards Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and Ronen Bar, the head of the [Shin Bet security service]."

    The goal of these attacks, Harel says, is to distract the Israeli public from Netanyahu's "dirty political trickery" and "the terrible, terrible price of the ongoing war."

    "Netanyahu's interests are no longer in line with Israel's strategic interest," Harel asserts. What about the "Decisive victory" the prime minister keeps talking about? "It's absolute nonsense," He said, "and Netanyahu knows that better than anyone else."

    Also on the podcast, French journalist Shirli Sitbon, a long time Haaretz contributor, reports on how French Jews, along with the rest of the country, were "shocked" by the snap elections declared by President Emmanuel Macron.

    She said they are themselves caught between political blocs on the left and the right, and with the center weakened, now embrace extremist parties.

    On the far left, she said, the bloc includes MPs "saying Israel is solely responsible" for the war in Gaza, who view Hamas as a legitimate resistance movement, support a full boycott and sanctioning of the country as well as arresting Israeli soldiers traveling in Europe and protesters carrying signs portraying French Jewish politicians as pigs. The alternative is a right-wing coalition led by Marine Le Pen's extreme xenophobic National Rally.

    The polarization, she said, leaves many Jews frightened and confused, with indications that more than half might consider leaving the country if the far left or the far right win a decisive victory and the country "changes on a fundamental level."
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    • 37 min
    'It's striking how different Israel-Palestine discourse is in the classroom and out of it'

    'It's striking how different Israel-Palestine discourse is in the classroom and out of it'

    If they ever imagined that they were dwelling in an ivory tower, the fierce and sometimes violent confrontations on their campuses have knocked academics who teach about Israel and the Middle East into a harsh new reality, Professor Dov Waxman, director of UCLA's Nazarian Center for Israel Studies told the Haaretz Podcast on the eve of a charged graduation week for his campus.

    Waxman described the clash last month between pro-Palestinian protestors and Israel advocacy groups who came to confront them – and how he and other professors found themselves keeping the two sides apart with campus security nowhere to be found.

    "I had felt like it was necessary to be there to observe and to try to be a witness and to provide an account, if that was needed. I didn't imagine that I'd be kind of brought into these protests or that I'd be required at all to keep protesters apart," Waxman said in a conversation with podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer.

    "Ultimately," he said "being there on the campus, particularly in the hours before the big protest encampment was dismantled by the police and "see[ing] hundreds of heavily armed riot police lining up on what is normally the quad in the center of our campus where students hang out" and "the world's media converging on our campus" was a "disturbing' and "very, very surreal experience."

    Also on the podcast, Haaretz correspondent Linda Dayan recounts her reporting from campus protests at several California universities.

    She said that it was impossible to paint a simple picture of the typical campus protester or generalize about their messaging. Some programming criticizing Israel was no more extreme than what one might find in an Israeli newspaper, she said. Other sessions contained inflammatory and even antisemitic content.

    "I've gone to magnificently different events on the same campus at the same encampment with wildly different messaging," Dayan said.
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    • 45 min
    'Israel's government has a distorted view of victory. This war is more like a crusade for them'

    'Israel's government has a distorted view of victory. This war is more like a crusade for them'

    There is "an abyss" between how the U.S. and Israeli governments treat the families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza, says Prof. Jonathan Dekel-Chen, whose son Sagui, 35, was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7 while trying to protect his family and other residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz. Sagui Dekel-Chen's wife, Avital, gave birth to the couple's third daughter in January.

    Speaking with Haaretz Podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer, the dual Israeli-U.S. citizen – who hasn't received new information about his son in eight months – compared the "inexplicably infuriating" behavior of members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government with their American counterparts.

    Dekel-Chen said he has felt "privileged" to receive the attention and sympathy offered by U.S. President Joe Biden and his administration – along with the other dual citizens caught in the hostage nightmare. He also noted that he felt similar "wall to wall" support from members of Congress, "regardless of what their views are on the conduct of Israel's war."

    In Israel, by contrast, "we've had no direct communication from senior ministers, nothing – it's unthinkable in a small intimate country like ours." He suggested that perhaps more sympathy and support would be forthcoming if those whose communities and lives were "destroyed" by the events of October 7 had come from the right-wing religious constituencies that make up Netanyahu's governing coalition.

    While Biden has put another cease-fire and hostage deal on the table, urging Netanyahu and Hamas to agree to its terms, "Israel's government has a distorted view of what victory is," according to Dekel-Chen. "This war is more like a crusade ... its goals are dictated by the fringe, radical, far right."

    On the podcast, Dekel-Chen also explains why, as a Hebrew University history professor, he feels that comparisons between October 7 and the Holocaust are inaccurate and dangerous. "Other than the death on that day, there are no real similarities," he says, "and it simply serves as a much too-easy-explanation for a horrific day and lets people off the hook who should be held accountable. It invokes some greater force that's so far beyond our control that it was almost inevitable. That's absolute nonsense."
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    • 35 min
    Rabbi Delphine Horveilleur: 'Zionism is about strength. After Oct. 7, Israelis understand brokenness'

    Rabbi Delphine Horveilleur: 'Zionism is about strength. After Oct. 7, Israelis understand brokenness'

    Rabbi Delphine Horveilleur, considered one of the most powerful and prominent voices of French Jewry, spoke with Haaretz Podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer during her first visit to Israel since the October 7 attacks and the beginning of Israel's war in Gaza, and discussed the way in which for Diaspora Jews, the attacks meant "that our refuge isn't safe anymore."

    Horveilleur describes 'a feeling of vulnerability and exile that came back to us. And even in Israel, there's a feeling that we're all in a way in a kind of 'galut" - exile - and there is an awareness of brokenness in us."

    At the same time, she says, the current situation presents an opportunity for a "renewed conversation" between Israel and the Diaspora. She feels Israelis, who are usually "focused on strength," are currently more able to relate to feelings of "fragility and the vulnerability," that Diaspora Jews deal with more openly.

    Contemplating the rise of antisemitism around the world, Horveilleur says confronting people about their antisemitism is "totally useless."

    "It never even makes them aware of the problem," she expands. "Many people say 'I am not an antisemite' but they speak in an antisemitic language, it's almost an ancient antisemitic tongue that people use without knowing."

    Also on the podcast, Hebrew University professor Tamar Megiddo, an expert in public international law, lays out the challenges that face Israel in the International Court of Justice and International Criminal Court. Megiddo discusses the likely consequences of the request for arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on charges of violating international humanitarian law.

     
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 42 min
    Aluf Benn: 'Israel's far right sees a chance to drive out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza'

    Aluf Benn: 'Israel's far right sees a chance to drive out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from Gaza'

    Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn understands the incredulity abroad regarding the political survival of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his grip on power despite the failures of October 7, terrible poll numbers, thousands of Israelis in the streets protesting weekly and his policies creating unprecedented tensions with the United States.

    In the second in a series of special podcast episodes in which subscribers from around the world were given the opportunity to ask questions, Benn emphasized in his responses Netanyahu isn't going away anytime soon.

    "Netanyahu did lose a lot of his popularity after October 7 - and rightly so. But he has been able to hold on to his coalition. And there is no sign of any imminent collapse of this coalition, or any cracks within it that might bring him down." Benn noted while answering a range of questions on security and political issues.

    "We have to bear in mind that while his government is unpopular, it's leading a very popular policy. There is very strong support in the Israeli Jewish society to continue the war until the defeat of Hamas and hopefully also of Hezbollah, the return of Israelis to live along the borders in the south and the north, and a more quiet future."

    Worryingly, Benn points out that the only clear-cut vision for post-war Gaza without Hamas rule is a long-term occupation of Gaza, coming from the the government's far right flank, with tacit cooperation from Netanyahu.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 42 min
    'Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony exemplifies what the day after the Gaza war could look like'

    'Israeli-Palestinian Memorial Day ceremony exemplifies what the day after the Gaza war could look like'

    As Israel prepares to celebrate Memorial Day, or Yom Hazikaron, on Monday and Independence Day, or Yom Haatzmaut, the following day, the abrupt transition from commemoration to celebration will look different in the shadow of October 7 and the war in Gaza.

    Abbey Onn lost two members of her family in Hamas' murderous attack, while three were taken hostage (two of them, 12-year-old Erez and 16-year-old Sahar, were released in November). She tells Haaretz Podcast host Allison Kaplan Sommer that she's helping to organize an alternative memorial ceremony powered by a group of families of hostages as a way "to say that we're building a new reality together, that we need to strengthen one another."

    While Onn doesn't discount the efforts of the army which is "fighting on our behalf," rather "than commemorating or talking about heroism, which we absolutely believe has happened," the event is an "effort to try to heal and rebuild."

    "We can't move forward until these people come back," she says. "[My family] needs to know that there is a strong movement of civilians who are willing to acknowledge that things are not as they were."

    Also on the podcast, Carly Rosenthal, from the pro-peace, anti-occupation NGO Combatants for Peace, talks about the organization's 19-year-old tradition of offering an alternative memorial ceremony to the government-sponsored event, which allows "Israelis and Palestinians to mourn together, to grieve for their loved ones that they've lost throughout the conflict."

    This year, she says, the theme centers on children during war. "Too many children, too many people, have been killed and are suffering. And the ceremony is an opportunity to honor them and to remember them, and to also say that we don't want this for them. We want a better future for them."
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

SED said ,

The best Israeli news podcast

Unapologetically left-wing, fabulously informative and with a great sense of humour.

Buddingeconomist ,

Tov mayod! Can’t live without this

Great coverage and with a great sense of humour

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